In the spring of 1974, Calliope Stephanides, a student at a girls' school in Grosse Pointe, finds herself drawn to a chain-smoking, strawberry-blond ...Show synopsisIn the spring of 1974, Calliope Stephanides, a student at a girls' school in Grosse Pointe, finds herself drawn to a chain-smoking, strawberry-blond classmate with a gift for acting. The passion that furtively develops between them leads Callie to suspect that she is not like other girls. In fact, Callie has inherited a rare genetic mutation. The biological trace of a guilty secret, this gene has followed her grandparents from the crumbling Ottoman Empire to Detroit and has outlasted the glory days of the Motor City, the race riots of 1967, and the family's second migration, into the foreign country known as suburbia. Thanks to the gene, Callie is part girl, part boy. And even though the gene's epic travels have ended, her own odyssey has only begun. Sprawling across eight decades - and one unusually awkward adolescence - Jeffrey Eugenides' long-awaited second novel is a grand, utterly original fable of crossed bloodlines, the intricacies of gender, and the deep, untidy promptings of desire. It marks the fulfillment of a huge talent, named one of America's best young novelists by both GRANTA and the NEW YORKER.Hide synopsis
In love with a woman but afraid of what might happen at the moment of truth, Cal Stephanides decides to reveal a secret. Cal has lived as both a man and a woman. It all began in 1922, when Cals grandparents escape to America after the war. Calliope is born and seems destined to embody the legend of those girls who become men upon reaching a certain age. And so begins this novel, which spans eight decades of a familys history and is a hugely ambitious attempt at writing the Great American Novel.In love with a woman but afraid of what might happen at the moment of truth, Cal Stephanides decides to reveal a secret. Cal has lived as both a man and a woman. It all began in 1922, when Cals grandparents escape to America after the war. Calliope is born and seems destined to embody the legend of those girls who become men upon reaching a certain age. And so begins this novel, which spans eight decades of a familys history and is a hugely ambitious attempt at writing the Great American Novel.Hide
I'll have to join the ranks of many of the other reviewers here and say I probably never would have read this book if it hadn't been chosen for my book club. I, too, thought the story would be a one dimensional search for gender identity--not so. I was hooked from the beginning. I would describe the story as one of an American family through generations--their journey just happened to produce a certain side effect compared to other families' journeys. Being just a few years younger than Cal I appreciated the nostalgic references to the cultural symbols, products, events, and fashions/styles of the day. I thought the author also chose an interesting omnicient narrative style (by Cal) for the story as well. I did have a couple of squirmy moments (the scenes with Dr. Luce really creeped me out). I only give it 4.5 stars simply because I would really have to know someone fairly well to recommend the book.
I was hooked by the opening sentence and taken on a journey into another world.
This is an outstanding example of how fiction can educate and enlighten us.
The author has created a hero (heroine) we can admire, empathize with and laugh
with through a difficult life changing self discovery.
A perfect book for Book Club discussions!
Although it's a well written novel and moves along at a brisk pace, I never got the "wow" factor that so many others seemed to get from this novel. Truly I was amazed that not only was this a bestseller but also a Pulitzer prize winner too.
Essentially Middlesex is two novels in one. The first half is a historical emigrant novel against the back drop of historical events and the second half is a coming of age novel of an awkward girl who just so happens to be a hermaphrodite.
I was really expecting something more, something edgy, something gritty. Middlesex is a novel for middle America who want to read a "safe" novel without feeling uncomfortable about the subject matter. In that regard it succeeds.
The only thing I enjoyed was the realization why Cal's brother is called Chapter Eleven. Ultimately I was extremely underwhelmed with it all.
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